Eighty years after Lynches River Electric Cooperative was formed with the mission to bring electricity to our rural communities, the member-owned power association announced that its board of trustees has voted to provide high-speed, fiber internet to its service areas.
“This decision is going to impact our community with the same vigor our parents and grandparents saw in the 1930s when we came together to bring electricity to our rural communities,” said LREC President & CEO Brian Broughton. “Our goal is to provide world-class internet to every house, on every dirt road that wants it and we won’t stop until we’ve done just that.”
The board of trustees voted to pass the motion to provide fiber-to-home network at a monthly board meeting August 29 after viewing the final results of an extensive research and evaluation process. The decision was finalized after signing a contract at the board meeting on Sept. 26.
“We believe that every single one of our members should have the opportunity to have access to the same quality internet as the people living in Charlotte or Columbia,” said LREC Board President Steve Chewning. “The for-profit companies aren’t interested in coming to our local communities, so why not us? Why not Lynches River?”
Members were given the opportunity to voice their opinion on the possibility of LREC offering fiber internet through an online interest survey. The survey garnered over 4,700 results, representing over 25 percent of the LREC membership.
Fiber optic internet will bring a new standard of rural broadband to Lancaster, Chesterfield, and Kershaw counties. With fiber, data can be sent up to 1,000 times faster than traditional copper and the service can reach Gigabit (1000 Mbps) speeds and beyond. The network won’t slow down when streaming on multiple devices or because more people are connected during certain times of the day.
“High-speed internet is not just a luxury anymore; it’s a necessity for businesses, economic development and education,” said Broughton. “Lynches River is going to bring affordable, reliable internet at speeds previously not offered in some of the areas we serve, and that is going to create unlimited possibilities for homes and businesses.”
Lynches River is the third electric cooperative in South Carolina to begin offering fiber internet, following in the footsteps of Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative and Newberry Electric Cooperative. The service will be built out in phases, with Phase 1 beginning in 2020. Interested individuals will need to register for service; however, this feature is not available at this time. Updates and additional information will be posted periodically on the Lynches River Electric Cooperative Facebook page and website.